Mid-Career Changes as Opportunity – Whether the Change is by Choice or Circumstance – 6P Coaching

January 28, 2008 § 9 Comments

It’s tough to write about tough topics but tough times call for tough measures and let’s see how many times I can use the word “tough” in one sentence…

I’ve been working with people who are in transition in their work lives. Some are doing this by choice and some are doing it because of circumstances they didn’t choose. Call it anything you like but downsizing, lay-offs, restructuring and all the other words for it means that there are people who were used to doing one thing every day and suddenly they’re not doing it anymore. Along with that can go a loss of financial and emotional security, sense of self-esteem and work ego. It all can bring up lots and lots of issues but the emotional impact can be lessened, and a sense of empowerment and potential attained if it’s approached and dealt with in a proactive and positive way.

Transition Coaching and Mid-Career Coaching can be one of the most liberating and wonderful experiences of people’s lives, even if they came to it under circumstances that weren’t of their own choosing.

Jed G. got downsized from a job in a career that he’d been despising for the last couple of years. He was bored of the work, he didn’t like the CEO of the company who was the person he reported to, he worked too many hours for his own liking and there were facets of his working personality that he’d wanted to explore but had never taken the time or opportunity to do so. Then he got downsized.

I’d worked with Jed a couple of years ago on some training programs for his team and company and throughout the years he’d called me in to do some short term coaching for his employees for team-building, stress-management, conflict resolution and project management so I was familiar with his work situation and the work style that he was used to.

Things were different now. First we had to work through the shock and all the other emotions that came along with his downsizing. Although he was lucky in that he received a good severance package he could not believe that this had happened to him. He’d been working for over 25 years, working his way up the corporate ladder and he was in total shock. Part 1.

After working through some of the initial issues brought on by the downsizing and keeping in mind that it’s a process that goes through different emotional phases we began the work of looking at a new and different future for Jed.

“How do I know what I want to do? I’ve been doing the same thing for so many years I don’t know what I want anymore. I wanted relief, and I got it but not the way I wanted it.” That was what he said when we first started.

Enter 6P Coaching. (There are 7 steps but we’ll focus on the first 6 for now).
For those of you who wanted to know some of the elements of rediscovering yourselves, you can try this at home and let me know how it goes. I use the system with clients all the time and it’s a great tool. It allows people to articulate their likes and dislikes, to examine what’s been working and what hasn’t and to look toward the future in a new way. Whether they were actively seeking out a different and new future or whether life chose a new one for them.

1. Materials:

Use any organizational method that works for you. This can be a tactile exercise or an intellectual and technological one or a combination of all three, whatever works best for you.
I usually recommend file folders for the tactile part since it includes components like pictures, articles, ads, sometimes even food wrappers! Anything that conjures up a thought, like or dislike. Computerized systems also work for files and information.

2. The areas will be called

We’ll also add one called Passes which will contain anything that you DON’T want. Think of this as an Ugh, No Way, Never-In-A-Million-Years, or Don’t-Even-Get-Me-Started folder. Anything that works for you to describe what you DON’T want.

3. Now Go! Write down and collect as many things as you can think of for each area. Fill the folders with words, pictures, songs, thoughts, anything that comes to mind. You can use magazines or newspaper articles, book reviews, movies. Look through trade magazines. If you see a movie or book ad or lecture series, anything can be relevant make a note of it or clip the reviews or outlines of any that resonate with you in one of the above ways.

4. Put it into the appropriate folder. For example; a place, or a feeling you’d like to have at a work situation, a skill you’d like to have, or something that you absolutely wouldn’t want. A work situation or supervisor you read about. A work environment that you hear about or imagine.

What you’re doing is articulating what works for you. If we were to do it in person or together we’d review and discuss the choices and analyze the patterns. Then the work of exploring new possibilities begins.

Combining this information with information we gather through the TIERS(c) (Temperament, Intellect, Expectations, Reality, Satisfaction) Coaching process we develop a solid picture with lots of information on what will work for you and sustain you professionally, financially, intellectually and emotionally as you move ahead to a new phase of your professional life. We then explore which possibilities will work and move ahead to get and achieve them.

In Jed’s case he’s always wanted to start a Non-Profit organization relating to a disability that his daughter has. We’re working together to make that a reality for him.

Jed’s initial reactions and experience of shock, dismay, fears, loss of self-esteem and sense of identity “this is who I’ve been for the last 27 years – who am I now?” have turned around and Jed said last week what I hear all the time from clients who have gone through the experience and worked their way through it “I never in a million years would have believed that I would think of being downsized as the best thing that could have ever happened to me!”

Good luck with the Priorities, Passions, Preferences, Perks, Promotions and Passes(c). If you have any questions or would like to send me some of your thoughts please feel free – I always love hearing from you.

Change is inevitable. Make the right changes for you.

Enjoy the day,
Rebecca “Kiki”

Weingarten’s Theory of Readiness – When? How? Best Way To?

January 22, 2008 § 14 Comments

One of the things I love about the work I do is exploring and developing new theories in order to assist people to understand, articulate and achieve their goals. An interesting phenomenon that I’ve been studying and developing as a theory for learning and change is something I call “The Readiness Theory”.

In its simplest form people “get ready” and become acclimated to changes in their lives in different ways.

* Some people dive right in and get used to the experience while they’re muddling through it. An example of that would be *Anne who decided she was looking for a job as a corporate attorney without really understanding what that lifestyle entails. She took the first job that looked good for her and is in coaching to become adjusted to the work, the lifestyle, interacting with her colleagues and developing a career plan for the future.

* Some people need to have all the elements in place before they can make a change or move.
An example of this readiness personality would be *Gregory who is a graduate student at an Ivy League University. Together we’re exploring every avenue as far as his interests are concerned. We’re working together to enable him to articulae and decide on the kind of life and lifestyle he’d like to live professionally, intellectually, financially, personally, and as far as leaving a legacy. We will then combine all the information so that he can make the best choice possible for him to make with the information he has at hand. He’d like to know what he’ll be doing after graduation by the time his last semester in grad school begins.

* Some people make a change and then take a few steps back before they jump right in again.
There are a couple of ways that this manifests itself in coaching. *Marietta started her coaching after she’d very impulsively left a steady job with a career track she thought she’d wanted in order to become a professional animator which she had no experience in or knowledge of how it worked “in the real world”. With a very low frustration threshold Marietta was unable to manage the situation and went back to a different job on the same career track as the original. Six months later she resumed coaching while in the job to plan ahead for becoming an animator. After working that through a bit more slowly than she’d originally anticipated she is currently very happily working as an animator. “I took a bit of a detour” is the way she describes it.

* Some people make a change before they’re ready to live it and then act that out in different ways.
Where do I begin with this one? This can manifest itself in many ways. I worked with *Tom, a young man who was under extreme pressure from his family to go to medical school and go into his father’s medical practice. To put it mildly he DID NOT want to be a doctor but felt that he just didn’t know how to get out of it. Well, he kept failing all his pre-med classes and did miserably on his MCATs so that he would have a hard time getting into any medical school his father would approve of. Then he took a gap year (actually three years) to travel the world. Long story short, he finally told his parents what was really going on and we then began a course of coaching to discover what he really wanted to do. Happy ending he’s currently an attorney who works primarily with doctors!

Another way this manifests itself is when someone is making the best move for them but they really aren’t ready for it yet for numerous reasons. This comes out in the way they behave with those around them, passive-aggressive behavior, self-sabotage and more. An example of this would be *Therese who was a successful newspaper journalist but decided to leave it all and write a book TODAY. Therese was a great writer but wasn’t used to the long stretches of of solitary time needed to do the very solitary work of writing a book. She wasn’t used to people not responding to her the way they had when she had her newspaper and title backing her up. In short, she just wasn’t ready for it. After alienating just about everyone she knew and spending most of her writing time starting at a blank computer screen (or alternately crying and eating) she began coaching work with me and through the process became able to be the person she wanted to be and do the work she wanted to do.

Readiness will show up in many ways and will also impact the length of the coaching relationship and the amount of coaching sessions required.

What’s your readiness style and how has it impacted your decisions? I’d love to hear from you! Let me know at rebecca at dailylifeconsulting dot com or post here. Enjoy the day – your way!

*(All names and identifying character and work traits have been changed.)

Transitions and Tolerating

January 21, 2008 § 11 Comments

This post really is in answer to questions I’ve gotten over the last week regarding the mid-life crisis article post, the falling down professions post and the phrase I used in the Barnes and Noble post about tolerating negative feelings. They’re all connected so I’ll just dive right in.

Here are some of the questions –
“When is the right time to make a transition?”
“Am I too old/young to be feeling this way?”
“Am I too old/young to be making a career transition?” “HOW can I make the transition? It feels too difficult.”
“I’m in the midst of making changes but having trouble dealing with my feelings about it, I’m not sure, I can’t take the reactions of the people around me, I don’t want to hurt anyone else by my actions.”
“Maybe I AM a cliche but am I supposed to sacrifice myself and the rest of my life in order to keep on living the way I have and hating my career, life situations?”
“I’m in a career that I hate and would like to make a change but I need to keep working while I do it, it’s getting harder and harder to get up in the morning…”
“Why do I feel guilty putting myself first and making a change that will make my life better?”
“What do you mean by ‘tolerating negative feelings'”?
“What causes burnout or the desire for a change? Are there things that are ‘normal’ and those that are just silly and unrealistic?

I don’t think anyone is ever “too old” or “too young” to be making a transition. If somehow one finds oneself in the wrong career or profession why wait any longer? Why spend any more time doing something you don’t want to be doing and that is impacting negatively on your life? Here are a couple of examples of how the need and desire for a change can surface at any age. Clients who are making transitions in their
20s, 30s, 40s, 50s,60s, and yes – 70s, and an inspiring story from my 90 year old mentor who is still working!

T.N. is 28 and on the corporate track. He had it all planned out and was living out his plans. College, Grad School, a few years in the corporate world then on for an MBA which would lead him to the position that he wanted. All seemed to be going well on the surface, T and I began working together when he was researching MBA programs and realized that the life he thought he wanted was not actually the one he wants. What now? What next?

J.S. is 36 and a successful attorney. She recently had her first baby and took a 6 month maternity leave. She and her husband had agreed that she would go back to work after the 6 months since she’s the primary earner in the family. She’s ready to go back to work but her husband thinks she should take more time off to stay home with the baby. J.S. and I are working on different ways for her to work full time but spend some of that time at home as a compromise since she does want to spend more time with the baby than she thought she would when she was first planning her maternity leave.

A.D. is a 48 year old doctor with a thriving practice. A workaholic since high school, his studies and work served as a haven for him. He loves study, he loves work, he teaches at a teaching hospital and loves the interaction with the med students. During difficult times in his personal life his work was a way of getting away from all of it. He was able to concentrate fully on the needs of his patients and the work he loved. But during the last couple of years since his divorce he’s found that his work doesn’t provide him with the haven-like feelings it did. He wants more of a “life” for himself and that’s causing him to feel more resentful at work.

H.B. is a 54 year old filmmaker. She loves her work but has been feeling and putting up with the age-ism and sexism in her industry for too long. It’s making her hate the work atmosphere she finds herself in and resentful of her some of her colleagues and the system in a way that is impeding her ability to be creative and work.

V.L. is a 56 year old woman who is retiring from a career as a teacher. She wants to continue working in some area but not sure what or how.

B.R. at 64 was a successful business owner for most of his working life. It included working “all the time” and not spending as much time as he wanted to doing “the things I love” but now he’s not even sure of what those things are anymore. He wants a working retirement but isn’t sure how to structure it or how to fill the extra time he’ll have.

T.D. is in his mid 70s and has been retired for a couple of years. He’s gotten his second wind and decided he wants to become technologically savvy, use the internet and possibly write a blog/book about his life.

Then there’s my 90 year old mentor/professor who told me last week about the new patients she’s started working with! Yes. You heard that right.

Are any of these situations easy? No. Do they bring up uncomfortable feelings during the process of deciding to make a change and while making the change? Yes.

When it comes to feelings, let’s face the fact that we all have them all the time. We like some and chase experiences that allow us to feel them. We dislike others and try and mostly try and avoid circumstances that will bring them up.

The point is to acknowledge the discomfort and not let it dictate the choices you make. If you’re feeling uncomfortable about making a change or the process required to do it the point isn’t to say “this isn’t the right thing for me”. The objective is to be aware of it, figure out what’s causing it and make decisions based on what’s best for your future and the future you want to have.

That means tolerating some negative feelings. They’re just feelings. They’re not in charge. You are. They can be a useful tool. You can include them to figure out what’s working and not working. What you want and what you don’t want. Which techniques work for you and which don’t. Which changes work for you and which don’t.

So when you’re thinking of making a change.
* The first step is to work through what the right change will be for you NO MATTER HOW OLD you are.
* Then ask yourself what you’re willing to do and feel in order to get it.

Enjoy the day,

What’s Gotten Into Kids These Days? Wall Street Journal

January 17, 2008 § Leave a comment

A quick note for those of you who are parents of young children. Clients often deal with these issues and I wanted to direct you to a post about the issue that I posted at Daily Life Coaching 4 Kids.

Enjoy the day,

Crisis? Maybe He’s a Narcissistic Jerk – NY Times

January 16, 2008 § 4 Comments

Crisis? Maybe He’s a Narcissistic Jerk By RICHARD A. FRIEDMAN, M.D.
January 15, 2008

This article about the male mid-life crisis sure got everyone going yesterday! People wanted to know if this was them, their husband, their ex-husband or their future selves, husband, ex-husband and on and on. Is that why they’re making a change? Planning a career change? Working on Work/Life Symmetry and Balance issues? Working on a transition from one lifestyle to another? Trying to change their workaholic ways? Working on stress management? Time management? Trying to Find Focus? It was a Rorschach test and everyone was taking it.

Here are a couple of quick thoughts and answers to some questions.

When you’re making your first career decision as a young adult you often don’t have all the information you need to make the best one to fit your life, temperament and your expectations can be wildly different than the reality of the work lifestyle. (All the things we work on in TIERS(c) coaching). Somehow you get pulled in and due to different kinds of obligations, societal pressures, momentum you end up staying there. You put up with it and you put up with it even if you don’t like it and it isn’t working for you until –

Dr. Friedman made a good point that often the change is made based on life circumstances and not only age. Very true.

Some of my clients are men (and women) in their 40s and 50s who are changing their lives. Age plays a role as the article describes.

It’s always a good time to change your life for the better, whatever the prompts are. Life is too short and too precious not to be doing the things you want to and living the life you want to live, especially if there are things that you have it in your power to change for the better.

FYI – Dr. Friedman does say that he’s 51….hmmmmm….

Enjoy the day – really!
Rebecca “Kiki”

Barnes and Noble Finding Focus/Writing Workshop – Coaching Tips

January 16, 2008 § Leave a comment

The most powerful concept that came out of yesterday’s workshop was the one that is probably one of the most difficult to do. How to continue writing when the feelings that can come up during the writing feel too uncomfortable? Overwhelming? Unpleasant?

People were asking for ways to avoid having that experience but I believe that in writing, as in life, the best thing to do is to learn how to tolerate the feelings. How to be with them in order to continue.

There are times that the material you’re working on is bringing up too many uncomfortable feelings. The impulse and desire to stop is overwhelming but often working with those feelings and using them in your writing can create some of your most powerful and surprising writing.

Thanks all, it was a great group with outstanding thoughts and ideas.

TIERS(c) Coaching – Finding Focus Coaching – Questions Answered…

January 15, 2008 § 1 Comment

I’m often asked about how I developed the TIERS(c) Coaching System and some of the other programs that I’ve developed and use.

Other questions that I’ve gotten from many of you since the last couple of postings are about the terms “multi-disciplinary” and “inter-disciplinary”. Some others often asked questions are about your lives, work and work/life and how to find a symmetry and balance that will make them both pleasurable, meaningful, integrated and successful. (Other questions as to time and methods I’ll answer in a later post.)

I’ll try and answer the questions briefly here since they are all connected. The “long answer” is pretty long so I’ll leave that for another time.
Here goes. Mostly it’s about a search which has led me to some terrific knowledge, experiences and still continues….this section focuses on my studies and on work since I was doing both at the same time.

Once upon a time in a burg named Brooklyn there lived a girl (originally from Bennington, VT.) who had just started college and was majoring in Education and Psychology (Disciplines 1 and 2 in the multidisciplinary topic). She had always wanted to be a teacher and also loved psychology. She believed that in order to really reach students and people and help them to learn and live the best way they can, you had to understand them as best as you could. (FYI she had originally wanted to major in English but was so traumatized by her English 1 professor that she changed majors to the other two subjects – never fear she came back to writing and English later in grad school.)

On and on. School. Work. School and Work at the same time. Grad school –
Ok – I have to stop myself here because the “short answer” is starting to look a whole lot like a very very long answer (I actually just took out 2 paragraphs – I guess that writing workshop last night really got me going….)

Long story short.
The disciplines in “Multidisciplinary” as far as areas of study are Education, Psychology, Guidance, Counseling, Writing, English, Psychotherapy and Analysis, Administration and Supervision, Creativity and most recently the Neuropsychobiology of feelings, emotions and behavior. (Yes, I love to study but only after a very illustrious history as a mediocre student (and sometime behavior problem) up to and including my senior year in college…)

Throughout my work experience as an Educator, Program Developer and Trainer (for NYC,CUNY and others), Counselor, Coach, Web Pioneer, Director of Integration and Coordination of Youth Services for NYC/NYS, Writer, Playwright (and some more that I can’t think of right now)I’ve always combined my knowledge and training and allowed one area to inform the others. Hence the Interdisciplinary.

I’m Ok with having two opposing opinions and feelings about the same topic. I’m ok with exploring and developing new ways of tackling old problems. I believe that it’s imperative that we become more interdisciplinary in many areas of our education and work lives.

So. The TIERS(c)(Temperament, Intellect, Expectation, Reality, Satisfaction) Coaching and Finding Focus Coaching and all the other programs and methodologies are an outgrowth of this search.

The answers to the question I often ask “How can I best assist people in achieving their desires and potential and to actually find out what those are”.

Hope this answers some of your questions.

Keep sending emails and questions. I love hearing from you.

Enjoy your day,
Rebecca “Kiki”

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